Biden’s policy on nuclear deal disappointing Rouhani government: Guardian

February 13, 2021 - 18:24

TEHRAN - Iran feels disappointed to hear Antony Blinken, the new U.S. secretary of state, says American sanctions against Iran will not be lifted until Tehran comes back into verifiable “full compliance” with its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the JCPOA, according to the Guardian, a British newspaper.

Blinken noted Iranian compliance would take some time, indicating there is unlikely to be any major movement in negotiations until after the Iranian presidential elections in June. His statement caused some Iranian officials claim the Biden administration was using the same failed policies as Donald Trump.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, has stressed Tehran would come back into compliance with the deal as soon as the U.S. lifted its economic sanctions. He also insisted Iran was not willing to renegotiate the existing deal, or to discuss its missile program.

Iran has moved away from the nuclear deal commitments, including by increasing uranium enrichment level and warning to reduce the access of the IAEA inspectors to its nuclear sites. 

The Iranian Parliament speaker, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, went to the Fordow nuclear site near Qom to be briefed on uranium enrichment stockpiles and preparations for changes to the nuclear inspection regime. 

During his visit, Iranian officials declared they intended to install more IR2m gas centrifuges in the next three months. They said Iran had 17kg of stockpiles of 20% enriched uranium, well above the limits set out in the agreement.

Blinken has forged a team with experience of negotiating with Iran, and he is likely taking a maximalist approach before the start of any negotiations. Undoubtedly, he will consult with skeptical Congress over the Iran issue.  

He said: “President Biden has been very clear in saying that if Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same thing and then we would use that as a platform to build, with our allies and partners, what we called a longer and stronger agreement and to deal with a number of other issues that are deeply problematic in the relationship with Iran.”

Consulting with his foreign minister counterparts in Germany, France and the UK, Blinken is seeking a way to handle Iran. Instead of revival of the JCPAO, top EU diplomats are using any opportunity to criticize Iran for its legal nuclear activities. On 12 February 2021, the governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom sharply criticized Iran's production of uranium metal.

Also, 120 U.S. House Republicans signed an open letter urging Biden not to pursue a detente with Tehran. “It is critically important that you do not allow history to repeat itself with a fatally flawed Iran nuclear deal,” the Republican lawmakers wrote.

Among the signatories of the nuclear deal, only China and Russia have both called for America's "unconditional" return to the deal. 

The presidential term of disappointed Rouhani ends this summer. He will likely be replaced by a conservative candidate, who will possibly adopt a tough approach towards the West and accelerate Iran’s nuclear program.  

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